Reflecting the Stars is a free installation, open to the public from now until October 25. Beginning at sunset each night, the faux stars start to twinkle as the tides conceal and reveal the lights. On the shore, there is a console that invites viewers to press buttons to light up specific constellations that are no longer visible within urban areas because of air and light pollution.
“We hope to not only give the viewer a sublime moment of reflection but also raise their awareness about our disappearing night sky,” said Morris. “This combination will motivate people to turn off lights at home, ask their offices to put lights on timers, and perhaps even help influence public lighting policy.”
Morris, having no knowledge of electronics and no major source of funding, enlisted friends to help ‘Reflecting the Stars’ become a reality. Andy Baker of Kontraptioneering, along with Rick Schwab, created a method of controlling the solar-powered lights with radio waves to avoid running any wiring that could disturb fish hatcheries under the pier. Google Senior Software Engineer Adam Berenzweig, working with architect Charles Renfro of DS + R, programmed and fined tuned the installation.
The lights are encased in steel pipe caps, “which rust within days of installation to match the natural decay of the once-bustling transportation pier. The contrast of new technology encased in a rusting shell mirrors our species’ race for advancement that is changing the climate, melting our glaciers, and leaving us at a global crossroads.”
Reflecting the Stars is the The Windmill Factory’s debut project in New York City. The collective is known for its interactive, mulch-disciplinary work, and you can become a part of ‘Reflecting the Stars’ by dedicating a star, just one of the various forms of funding that made the installation possible.
No doubt a stunning piece of public art, ‘Reflecting the Stars’ carries a poignant message about our relationship with the environment. “As we lose our view of the universe we perhaps lose our place in the world, our perspective of being part of a solar system,” writes the Windmill Factory. “Without this macrocosmic perspective it is arguably easier to stop taking care of our surroundings and our planet.”
Reflecting the Stars is located on Pier 49 off of the Hudson River Park. To get to the pier, enter the park at West 11th Street and walk north to Pier 49.
All images © The Windmill Factory